When you think of wedding bands, gold or platinum likely comes to mind. However, an increasingly popular material on the market is neither of these and happens to be far more affordable than both. If you're on the hunt for something that's bold and unique, Tungsten Carbide might be the ideal ring option for you.
What Is Tungsten Carbide?
Tungsten Carbide is the result of combining or alloying carbon with Tungsten, hard and dense metal with a high melting point. Tungsten Carbide occasions a deep gray color in its untreated, natural state but can be polished, sandblasted, or carved to give it a wide range of finishing aesthetics.
“The best quality Tungsten Carbide rings include at least 80% Tungsten,” says Blue Nile senior merchandiser Roxanna Rector. “This combination makes rings that are strong, hypoallergenic, tarnish-resistant, and that will maintain their polish for a lifetime.”
Meet the Expert
Roxanna Rector is a senior merchandiser for Blue Nile and is based in Seattle.
History of Tungsten Carbide Rings
Tungsten can be traced back to the 1700s. “It was first extracted from ore, discovering the element with the highest melting point of all metals,” Rector explains. Fast forward to the 1800s and Tungsten Carbide is synthesized for the first time and “used for industrial purposes for its extreme durability, such as cutting tools in the 1900s and modern-day precise surgical instruments.”
What to Look for in a Tungsten Carbide Ring
As previously noted, if you’re buying a Tungsten Carbide ring it’s important to find one that’s at least 80% Tungsten. “At this purity, it is 10x harder than 18k gold and has a weight that’s substantial and luxurious, similar to platinum,“ Rector says. Sometimes sellers will use an expensive filler in place of Tungsten, causing the value and integrity of the ring to diminish.
Another important factor to consider is size. Because Tungsten Carbide rings are incredibly hard, they cannot be sized. “Consider buying your regular size as well as a half size up and keep the one that fits the best,” she notes. “If you buy a ring 6mm or wider, you may need a slightly larger size than what a ring sizer will tell you due to how much of your finger the ring will cover.”
Pros of a Tungsten Carbide Ring
Tungsten Carbide rings have a lot going for them. Rector notes that they check off all of the boxes below:
- Tarnish resistant
- Will remain polished virtually forever
- High scratch-resistance
- High wear-resistance
- Increased hardness and durability
- Available in a wide variety of styles and colors for multiple aesthetics
Additionally, Tungsten Carbide rings tend to be far more affordable than their gold and platinum counterparts. Plus, it essentially never loses its polish, which makes wearing it forever far more effortless.
Cons of a Tungsten Carbide Ring
Of course, there are some shortcomings that coincide with purchasing a Tungsten Carbide ring. For starters, there’s a chance that your supplier may be offering a ring with a purity level that is lower than 80%. Second, “because of its natural hardness properties, the ring is susceptible to cracking if dropped on a hard surface like cement or marble,” Rector notes. And as previously mentioned, because Tungsten isn’t malleable like gold, it can’t be resized. It’s also worth noting that these rings are typically heavy, which can be a plus or minus depending on your preference (Rector adds that they are a comparable weight to platinum).
How to Care for a Tungsten Carbide Ring
Because Tungsten Carbide rings are so durable, they require little to no maintenance. “The most important way to care for Tungsten rings is to ensure you don’t drop them on hard surfaces such as marble or cement, as they can crack and be difficult to repair,” Rector says.
Ahead, scroll through 10 sleek and modern Tungsten Carbide wedding rings.
Classic Gray Tungsten Carbide Wedding Band
A sleek, industrial option for the modern bridal aesthetic.
SHOP NOW: Blue Nile, $195
Honor Tungsten Beveled Polished Ring
The gold brushed finish on this 1.6mm ring gives it an elevated finish.
SHOP NOW: Thorsten Rings, $230
Artemisia Rounded White Tungsten Wedding Band
Add a subtle sparkle to your Tungsten Carbide ring with this option featuring three simple diamonds.
SHOP NOW: Little King Jewelry, $460
Triton Tungsten Wedding Band
As the adage goes, sometimes less is more.
SHOP NOW: Zales, $125
Gold Brushed Tungsten Carbide Ring
The brushed fine gold on this Tungsten Carbide ring reads well-designed.
SHOP NOW: Little Sky Stone, $79
MIDA Tungsten Brushed Wedding Band
There’s something oh-so-cool about a black band, no?
SHOP NOW: Gaboni Jewelers, $89
Sol Traditional Domed Rose Gold Plated Tungsten Wedding Band
Because rose gold is always a good idea.
SHOP NOW: Little King Jewelry, $200
Lovemark Black Ion-Plated Tungsten Carbide Men's Wedding Band
This bold noir ring offers a satin and polished finish.
SHOP NOW: Kohl's, $240
Gray Wedding Band
If shiny metals aren’t your bag, this gray-hued Tungsten ring may fit the bill.
SHOP NOW: Blue Nile, $195
Samara Tungsten Wedding Band with Ash Wood Inlay
A light wood inlay for a non-traditional option.
SHOP NOW: Little King Jewelry, $250